eXp Realty’s celebrity real estate ranks just keep getting bigger. Add to the list Michael J. Maher, a highly sought-after speaker, motivational coach, podcast host, and best-selling author, whose book (7L) “7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals, is among Amazon’s real estate best-sellers. As a real estate agent, he cracked the code for generating referrals and was known as “North America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional.”
And now, after 10 years with Keller Williams, he is joining eXp Realty, where he can’t wait to help the company crack the code as well.
“There is a real opportunity at eXp. It’s a no-brainer for me. My goal is to make eXp the most referred brokerage in real estate,” Michael said.
From High School Math Teacher and Coach to Millionaire Real Estate Agent and Best-selling Author
Michael was teaching high school math and coaching three sports when he got the real estate bug after buying his first home. He was licensed in 2000 and found quick success. In just three years, he was one of the top agents in the Kansas City metropolitan area, closing on $40+ million in sales on 187 units – all on referrals. His ability to get referrals at breakneck speed – 500-600 documented referrals per year – and the demand driven by requests from other agents to teach them his system, led him to write his (7L) book and start REFERCO.com, where Michael is the CEO and his wife, Sheri, is the COO. REFERCO teaches the Referral Mastery System, which is based on a philosophy of generosity.
“There was a gap in the world with relationship mastery. There were no books on going from relationships to getting referrals. The truth is, asking for referrals is an awkward scenario. If the person asked doesn’t have a referral or the person asking doesn’t deserve one, it turns into an awkward situation.”
While Michael’s book has earned him over a million dollars, it was almost never written. After knee surgery in 2007, he suffered seven blood clots – one that made its way to his heart, stopping it for 37 seconds. While in intensive care, he outlined the “seven levels of communication” he used in (7L) and once it launched in 2010, it landed on the bestseller’s list forcing him to embark on a worldwide book tour that continues to this day and thrust him into the spotlight as a sought-after speaker and coach.
Never to remain idle, Michael wrote a second book, “The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents,” along with Hal Elrod and eXp Realty influencers Jay Kinder and Michael Reese that instantly became a bestseller as well and just a couple of years later, started the ReferralsPodcast.com podcast, which now gets 10,000-15,000 downloads a month.
The Launch of the Referral Mastery System and Its Three Pillars
In 2020, Michael launched the Referral Mastery Academy, which offers online courses taught live or through an on-demand library. It teaches three pillars:
- Self Mastery – The “one-to-none” pillar. First, love yourself. Believe in yourself. A vehicle to connect deeply with yourself.
- Relationship Mastery – The “one-to-one” pillar. Or, how a person connects with others in conversation, presentation, and 1:1 opportunities. A vehicle to connect deeply with another.
- Event Mastery – The “one-to-many” pillar. This is how connections are made with many people through multiple events a year. A vehicle to connect others and connect with others.
“Within this coaching and training the whole person for health, wealth, and happiness that encompasses the Referral Mastery System, we teach them event mastery. We don’t tell them what events to have. We teach them how to maximize the event. For example, if your database loves happy hours, do a happy hour. If wine is more their thing, do a wine and cheese event. Or, if you have a more buttoned-up crowd, have a board of advisors or board of ambassadors event. We don’t teach you what event to have, we teach you how to get referrals from your events and how to make money doing events. We call it fun prospecting.”
The Men Behind His Success: Michael’s Mentors
Michael gives credit to three important people in his life for his success: his dad, who was a coach and teacher and whom (7L) is dedicated to; Howard Brinton, a renowned real estate mentor and whom Michael says taught him through “tough love.”
“Howard saw something in me. I was so new to the business. But, he reinforced in me that I had a lot of value to bring. He was the first one to call me out and give me a tough lesson when I made a mistake. All in all, he led with love though,” said Michael.
Lastly, Zig Ziglar, an often-cited coach and motivational speaker famous for the motto: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” was a huge influence on Michael. It was Ziglar who insisted Michael do a (7L) audiobook and taught him a “kinder, gentler way of sales.” Zig also reinforced to Michael to use acronyms and stories in his lessons.
Michael Still Finds Time to Coach High School Football
In addition to all of his professional pursuits, he still coaches quarterbacks — helping at the prestigious Elite11 Regional Camps and 3-Day Elite11 Academies and also is an offensive assistant at one of the most successful football programs in the nation: North Cobb High School in Georgia’s 7A Division where many players are recruited into major Division I college and university programs. Michael agrees that there are a lot of similarities between helping quarterbacks and his clients as both are leaders in their respective communities.
“Take the natural abilities of the quarterback and mesh those with the strengths of the offensive system. It’s exactly what I teach in the Referral Mastery System. Mesh the clients’ strengths and the system’s strengths and run with it and have fun with it. It gives agents creativity while also giving the system’s consistency.”
Taking eXp Luxury to New Heights Through Love, Generosity and Appreciation
At eXp, Michael plans on helping to develop eXp’s Luxury Division and working alongside eXp Luxury Advisory Council members Jana Caudill, one of Michael’s coaching clients, and Pete Middleton on developing programs to get luxury referrals.
“We’ve been talking about 18 months,” said Michael. “By working with Jana and coaching her and her team, I got to see the inner workings of eXp and it led me to be curious and learn more about eXp. The more I saw, the more it made so much sense to join eXp. I see so many opportunities to help this great company.”
Caudill, a 4X ICON agent, and member of the eXp Luxury Council, has known Michael and his wife, Sheri, personally and professionally for over 23 years.
“I know firsthand the vast impact and lasting impression he has made not only with his clients, but the real estate industry as well. Michael is the ultimate master of referrals and he leads with love, generosity, appreciation, authenticity and abundance. I am beyond honored and proud to know that Michael and Sheri, are partnering with us at eXp and I look forward to all the value he will bring our agents, teams, and the luxury division.”
Middleton, who is chairman of the eXp Luxury Council, said, “Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and unique training that focuses on the power of relationships and connection. Real estate has transitioned from the ‘let me show you my success record’ to the ‘generosity generation and how can we make this the biggest win of your life for you and your family.’
“He will help elevate eXp and eXp Luxury to new heights through relationship training, systems and connecting on a deeper level with more personalized service for our luxury clientele. I am so excited to have him as part of eXp and our tribe,” said Pete.
Michael’s home base is now in Marietta, Georgia where he, his wife Sheri, son Max and “Miles the Maltipoo,” moved after (7L)’s success, citing Atlanta as a great travel hub and offering an agreeable lifestyle and weather.
“I would love to turn the typical pushy salesperson and annoying agent stereotype on its head and help others base the entire approach on love, generosity and appreciation,” said Michael. “This is not BS – “bad stuff” — this is strategic. It is tactical and it is practical. It is exactly what the industry needs right now. It may not work, but what if eXp was the most referred real estate company — and agents — in the world? Going to be fun to see what we can do here.”
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